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This question asks an abstract question about a hypothetical (and probably evil) religion. It's a good question and deserves a good answer.

However User "Adrian - Justice for Monica" chose not to write about an abstract religion, but instead to write about a real-world specific religion and to equate that religion with the evil one in the question. What he wrote offended followers of that religion.

There was no need to use the real-world religion as an example. He could have written exactly the same answer without naming a specific religion, but he chose to, and so I can only assume he deliberately intended to offend.

Stack Exchange says it is welcoming of all people, and not to tolerate behaviour which makes people feel unwelcomed or uncomfortable, a policy it promoted very heavily. I put it to the community that this answer makes many people feel unwelcomed and uncomfortable. I look forward to appropriate intervention. What response will that be? How is it going to be different if the attack had been based on some other issue, like race or gender?

I'm not saying that people shouldn't be allowed to give negative answers about a specific religion. But the question wasn't about any real religion, and this answer is just an excuse to make attacks.

P.S. I'm not looking for general comments. let's see how the moderators tackle this one. Particularly L.Dutch, who explicitly restored the offensive version of the answer.

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    $\begingroup$ 1. This isn't a question. 2. As an atheist, anti-theist, and overall misanthrope, I hold strong belief it is right to criticize and ridicule non-fictional religions, especially when it comes to their conduct before 1950's. I stand by the user you mentioned. 3. Stack Exchange says it is welcoming ... very heavily. I put it to the community that this "question" makes many anti-theists like me feel unwelcomed and uncomfortable. I look forward to no intervention at all, or, which I wouldn't like, double punishment for both the person who "asked" this "question" and person they're talking about. $\endgroup$ – Failus Maximus Dec 12 '19 at 19:42
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    $\begingroup$ @FailusMaximus Oh, the old "claim to be offended by the complaint" response. However this question doesn't attack your beliefs. I could of course claim that I found your comment offensive, and keep the sequence going indefinitely, but I hope we are above that. $\endgroup$ – DJClayworth Dec 12 '19 at 19:43
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    $\begingroup$ @DJClayworth I am offended by the fact that you feel like you have right to silence people who don't think your religion is the best thing that happened to this planet. The ability to say religion XYZ is bad according to me means a lot. And to try to silence people who use it as an example for evil fictional religion? I find that very offensive. But you see, I'll tolerate that. Even if it feels like an attack on integral part of me, I can tell it isn't personal, and be a bigger person. Question is, can you? $\endgroup$ – Failus Maximus Dec 12 '19 at 19:54
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    $\begingroup$ The freedom to say that religion X (or, indeed, all religions) are bad is indeed important, @FailusMaximus, but is it necessary to do so here? Does it actually add to the answer? Is it relevant? $\endgroup$ – TRiG Dec 12 '19 at 19:57
  • $\begingroup$ @TRiG That's exactly my point. Thank you. $\endgroup$ – DJClayworth Dec 12 '19 at 19:58
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    $\begingroup$ @TRiG In this case, a person seems to have just mentioned that Christianity does have belief in god caused world end (which it does), and thus made tongue in cheek response where he explained how "evil" religion preaching world end - christianity does keep their believers despite that irl. It was both relevant, and helped get the point across. The thing might have been edited since this post was made, I've seen two edits already happen, so it might have been worse than it is now. But from what I saw there, I saw no reason for this "question" to exist, for it was on topic answer. $\endgroup$ – Failus Maximus Dec 12 '19 at 20:02
  • $\begingroup$ If I indeed came late to party and the question was off-topical bashing of Christianity, I'll apologize and acknowledge I was wrong. But from the current form of answer, where Christianity is merely used as an demonstrative example of wide spread religious belief in god-orchestrated world end, I see no argument to shut that thing down. $\endgroup$ – Failus Maximus Dec 12 '19 at 20:06
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, that's my point. The answer is just using the question as an excuse to attack somebody else's religion. $\endgroup$ – DJClayworth Dec 12 '19 at 20:09
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    $\begingroup$ @DJClayworth That's just your opinion man. And wrong opinion at that. $\endgroup$ – Failus Maximus Dec 12 '19 at 20:10
  • $\begingroup$ That was a quick switch from "If it was off-topical bashing of Christianity, I'll apologize" to "You are just wrong". The first was much better. $\endgroup$ – DJClayworth Dec 12 '19 at 20:16
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    $\begingroup$ @DJClayworth Oh, you thought I'm just gonna take your word for it? Don't take it badly, but you don't seem like a very honest kind of person, so I'll keep that option of apologizing open for future where I either have word of someone with less bias, or something more physical than just your word. $\endgroup$ – Failus Maximus Dec 12 '19 at 20:19
  • $\begingroup$ Or read the answer. $\endgroup$ – DJClayworth Dec 12 '19 at 20:22
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    $\begingroup$ @FailusMaximus Debating the answer is fine but maybe steer clear of insulting people/calling them dishonest. As a point the current form of the answer is the same as the original form and in future if you want to see the original form of an answer you can view all the edits that have been made by clicking on the bit where it says edited at [time] just above the picture of the user that edited it. $\endgroup$ – Bellerophon Dec 12 '19 at 20:26
  • $\begingroup$ Apologies, I stepped over the line. I shouldn't have implied dishonesty, where there was none I saw. DJClayworth, even if he disagrees obviously really believes what he says. Thus to say he's dishonest wasn't just an insult, it was factually wrong insult, for which I apologize. Still, after seeing the original response, I stand by my claim that there is no attack on DJClayworth in it. It is simple response with real-life example that applies to the question. $\endgroup$ – Failus Maximus Dec 12 '19 at 22:24
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    $\begingroup$ I just wanted to note that I deleted some obsolete comments here. One person deleted all of theirs, so I in turn deleted the comments responding to those, to tidy things up. Apologies if I missed a spot somewhere. $\endgroup$ – HDE 226868 Dec 13 '19 at 18:35
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All questions about religion will ultimately get controversial answers.

There are aspects to every religion that aren't entirely pretty. Against that some people have fundamental objections to religion in the first place. That's the thing about public platforms, people will have views that others find disagreeable, and they will put voice to them.

All in, someone is going to be offended. We do not censor just because someone is offended. We don't censor if someone is downright wrong.

You on the other hand, had no right to vandalise the answer because you disagreed with it. L.Dutch restored the answer as given which was the correct response.

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  • $\begingroup$ But my point is that StackExchange has a policy that says yes, they DO censor posts that are attacks. There's a whole huge thing about it and people are protesting it and changing their usernames. $\endgroup$ – DJClayworth Dec 12 '19 at 20:07
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    $\begingroup$ @DJClayworth, are you saying the historical events as presented in that answer are untrue? Are you saying the religious positions in that answer are untrue? They're all fairly well documented. $\endgroup$ – Separatrix Dec 12 '19 at 20:09
  • $\begingroup$ Did you read the comments? $\endgroup$ – DJClayworth Dec 12 '19 at 20:14
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    $\begingroup$ @DJClayworth first rule of the internet $\endgroup$ – Separatrix Dec 12 '19 at 20:15
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    $\begingroup$ Nothing to add to this. $\endgroup$ – L.Dutch - Reinstate Monica Dec 12 '19 at 20:23
  • $\begingroup$ @L.Dutch-ReinstateMonica You could explain how this is different from an attack on someone because of their race or gender. While staying within the SE Code of Conduct... $\endgroup$ – DJClayworth Dec 12 '19 at 20:24
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    $\begingroup$ if you are a good Christian you will go to heaven after you die: true if you /aren't/ a good Christian, you will burn in sulphurous fire after you die: true at many times in history and in many places, if you aren't a good Christian, the state or power of the Church punishes you: true $\endgroup$ – L.Dutch - Reinstate Monica Dec 12 '19 at 20:25
  • $\begingroup$ ok, since you expect me to stay within the code of conduct by you don't feel compelled to do the same, I am done $\endgroup$ – L.Dutch - Reinstate Monica Dec 12 '19 at 20:27
  • $\begingroup$ @L.Dutch-ReinstateMonica I don't think moderators get to just walk away from dispute.Especially when they've been one of the people taking part in it, and distinctively taking a side. And you didn't answer my question. $\endgroup$ – DJClayworth Dec 12 '19 at 20:28
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    $\begingroup$ @DJClayworth Commenting upon the history and beliefs of a religion is not an attack against those who claim to follow it. Were the facts mis-stated, or if not, is there some other reason why the answer in question offends you? If the latter, perhaps you should examine your own beliefs to discover what it is about the facts that you admit are true that makes you uncomfortable. In my experience, those most offended by such challenges to their religion are those who have doubts yet want to remain a member of that group, while those whose faith is strong simply ignore any such challenges. $\endgroup$ – Monty Wild Dec 14 '19 at 5:55
  • $\begingroup$ @DJClayworth ironically, moderators can just walk away... one of their tasks is to decide when a debate has run its useful course and terminate it. Whether that should happen in this case is a judgement call... for a moderator to make. :-) $\endgroup$ – SRM Dec 24 '19 at 22:43
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Neutral third (fourth? fifth?) party here.

I've read the whole thread now for the first time, and I have to say that I don't think the answer you're talking about is meant as an attack on Christianity. It's true that it doesn't paint a flattering portrait of the religion, but, well, not everything about Christianity is flattering. Looking through the content you removed, I see mentions of the Spanish Inquisition, anti-Semitism by Christians, the Branch Davidians - all things that, well, happened. Stating as much isn't an attack; they're the facts. You can't change history just because you don't like it. And they are relevant - the Branch Davidian case in particular is an excellent example of a religious group preparing for the end of the world.

One can dispute the theological accuracy of the answer's depiction of the tenets of Christianity, as some people have; obviously, many have contested its core claim, and I personally am not completely convinced that mainstream Christianity is a solid example. (Then again, I'm not a theologian, and I suspect most people here aren't, either!) But that's quite orthogonal to the point here, which is that portraying a religion in a negative light is not an attack on the followers of that religion, if you're citing actual misdeeds - which is what the answer is doing in those few examples.

Regarding the point you made about using a particular example: I've found that examples can be handy tools on Worldbuilding. I've answered many questions by simply giving an example, rather than by trying to set down some theoretical framework. I wouldn't say that it was necessary to use an example religion in this case, but a well-defended example could be quite valuable indeed. Again, I'll dance around the issue of whether this example is accurate or not; that's beyond the scope of this meta discussion.

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  • "However User "Adrian - Justice for Monica" chose not to write about an abstract religion, but instead to write about a real-world specific religion and to equate that religion with the evil one in the question."

    The question is not about an "evil" religion. It is simply a question about a religion centered about "summoning a god of destrucion to destroy the world". It is your particular perception that this is evil. For those people who follow the religion described in the question it is presumably not evil.

    The answer is based on the observation that Christianity and its One True Living God fulfil the requirements, if one is inclined to see it that way. The God of Christianity actually destroyed the world once (in the Deluge), and the last and final book of the Christian Holy Scripture promises that He will eventually destroy it again (on Judgement Day).

    Dies irae, dies illa
    Solvet saeclum in favilla,
    Teste David cum Sibylla.

  • "What he wrote offended followers of that religion."

    Well, it obviously offended you, although I fail to see anything offensive in the answer.

    I suspect that many of people on this site (maybe even most people on this site) are Christians of some sort or another, and yet the answer stands at +55 and your question stands at −7. You may want to consider that it is just possible that your opinion does not fully align with the community, either the community of users of this site, or the Christian community in general.

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    $\begingroup$ That the answer in question does not paint Christianity in the light of perfection that the OP obviously desires of it is irrelevant to the question it answered. It seems that the OP has not been able to separate their personal beliefs from their self-belief as others have done, or perhaps is suffering from some personal crisis of confidence in their chosen beliefs. $\endgroup$ – Monty Wild Dec 14 '19 at 2:14
  • $\begingroup$ @MontyWild -- I wouldn't take exception to your comment if the answer in question presented facts rather than half truths and myths and misunderstandings. Also, do try not to personally insult people by insinuating what's going on or not going on in their minds. You're a Mod, you get to play by a higher standard! $\endgroup$ – elemtilas Dec 15 '19 at 19:53
  • $\begingroup$ Yes to this: “is your particular perception that this is evil.“ Full yes! The Bible says God once drowned the world in a flood. Was that evil? There are many reasons to act, and a time for every purpose under Heaven. The goodness/badness requires an evaluative basis that is likely not universally shared. $\endgroup$ – SRM Dec 24 '19 at 22:47
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To understand my opinion on this question, and upon the question that is the subject of this question, some explanation of my own beliefs will be required. I will not put a name to my system of beliefs - what I believe and why I believe it is more important to this answer than the label that people apply to my system of beliefs.

The central core of my personal system of beliefs is that - other than my belief in myself - I am not that in which I believe, and by extension, other than themselves, no person is that in which they believe.

Next comes the belief that since I am not those external things in which I believe, an attack upon those things external to me in which I believe is not an attack upon me, and by extension, an attack upon those things external to them that others believe is not an attack upon them.

From that comes my personal belief that everything that I believe must be subject to proof, or failing that, to Occam's razor: that where many explanations exist, the simplest valid explanation is best... therefore everything that I believe is subject to change, should proof or a better explanation be presented to me.

However, the previous paragraph presents my personal belief. I live in a nation in which the freedoms of speech and religion are enshrined in law, and Stack Exchange is likewise based in another nation with similar laws. Moreover, Stack Exchange has a Code of Conduct that, in essence, states that users should be nice to one another. So, even without SE's CoC, that means that the freedom of speech gives people the right to say whatever they want, and the freedom of religion gives people the right to disregard whatever anyone else says. SE's CoC limits the freedom of speech on their sites to that which is not a personal attack upon other user

So... I understand that the answer in question could be interpreted as an attack upon Christianity, however it is not an attack against any particular Christian. While I welcome attacks upon that which I believe, I understand that others need not share that attitude.

So... my opinion on this matter is that answerers may answer as they wish, so long as no personal attacks are made and the other provisions of the CoC are not violated. Should another user's beliefs be attacked in the process, then that user may either engage and challenge that attack (respectfully, of course), reassess their own beliefs, or disengage and not participate in any discussion.

Since the answer in question does not attack any user and is not objectionable on other grounds, it may stand as-is. I would suggest to the OP that should the answer in question be offensive, that the OP should either reassess their personal beliefs to ascertain why it was offensive and if their personal beliefs are those that they truly wish to have, or alternatively disengage and simply agree to disagree.

Furthermore, since the consensus of this site's moderators appears to be that the answerer has done nothing wrong in posting that answer, further suggestions to the contrary could be interpreted as a personal attack against the answerer.

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For my part, Adrian has very graciously conversed with me the last several days via chat regarding his answer to the said query.

As I said previously, I did not and even more now DO NOT think it was his intention to insult Catholics or any other denomination of Christian through his answer.

Adrian - Justice for Monica should be able to edit the answer sufficiently well that it will no longer pose any kind of insult or offense and will be factually sound.

The moderator believes altering an answer to remove references to a real world religion and its denominations constitutes defacement. While I disagree with L. Dutch's action as a somewhat misguided attempt to bandaid the issue, I leave that for another discussion. At least the OP of this meta query believes that the answer itself is a kind of defacement.

I think the best corrective action has taken place over the last few days: rational discussion with the respondent. I'd ask you, DJClayworth, to take a look at that discussion and report back if you still believe that Adrian is deliberately trying to insult you or anyone else.

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A good answer to any of our hypothetical questions will include examples from the real world to back conclusions. If a question asks about religion, using a real-world religion as basis for answer is totally appropriate. Having the warts of any belief system examined is going to make believers uncomfortable at best, and not just religions.

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